Who Sourav? As the first captain of Kolkata Knight Riders quietly left for a vacation, the city that once gave him a hero’s welcome turned out in strength on Tuesday to embrace the team — Didi leading the field.
It was a party. A Bollywood groove. A collective frenzy, where all roads led to Eden. Fickle, cricket-crazy Kolkata melted out on the roads — all 5 km of it — to celebrate the KKR victory and watch the Bollywood Badshah and his men in purple rub shoulders with Tollygunge starlets.
The craze had begun right after CSK were trounced on Sunday. On Monday, CM Mamata Banerjee added fuel to fire — she invited people to turn up for a civic reception of the players from the podium of a railway function.
And the people obliged, queuing up from 8 am, even though KKR captain Gautam Gambhir and his boys were not to appear for at least 3 hours.
Braving the 36°C temperature and 90-plus humidity, thousands lined the stretch from Hazra Road to Eden Gardens, where entry was free.
“Why not? Shah Rukh Khan and his boys made us proud,” said 17-year-old Ronit Roy Choudhury.
Buoyed, Banerjee snatched a mike and took over the role of the compere at Eden. And she sailed along, till asked by Khan to shake a leg.
Promptly refusing, she offered to sing instead, but King Khan was in no mood for a compromise. Holding the CM by one hand and governor MK Narayanan by the other, he broke into a bhangra. Later, he announced, “The next time we win the cup, didi has promised to dance”.
The felicitation had a golden lining too. Both Narayanan and the CAB presented the players with gold chains and lockets.
But the celebration got slightly marred towards the end, when the police used lathis on fans who broke barricades at the main gate. A few were injured. But for Eden and Kolkata, it was a part of the game, washed out with the taste of the giant cake-sandesh and mellifluous strains of Bangla bands’ “korechi, lorechi, jitechi”.